Qatar offers employment for 20,000 Gazans
GAZA CITY – The Palestinian unity government has received a proposal from Qatar to provide employment for 20,000 Palestinians from the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla told The Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that Doha had presented a plan for employing 20,000 Gazans in Qatar.
Abu Shahla said earlier Wednesday that details of the proposal would be discussed during his upcoming visit to Qatar.
He added that the proposal was aimed at relieving the unemployment crisis in the blockaded Gaza Strip, where joblessness rates soared to 65 percent in the wake of Israel's devastating military onslaught this summer, according to recent figures released by a Palestinian non-governmental organization.
The organization, dubbed the "Popular Committee for Lifting the Siege on the Gaza Strip," also asserted that poverty rates in the Gaza Strip had reached a staggering 90 percent following the bloody offensive.
Even before the latest offensive, the Gaza Strip had reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade – by air, land and sea – since 2006.
The blockade was tightened further in 2007 after Palestinian movement Hamas wrested control of the coastal territory from rival faction Fatah.
Qatar openly provides a base for leaders of the Palestinian movement Hamas as well as money to help prop up its government in Gaza. But American and Israeli officials say Qatar has stopped short of providing the group with weapons.